Defense Not Allowed to Call Tattooed Inmate in CommSta Trial

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge says defense attorneys in the Kodiak Coast Guard CommSta murder trial can’t call a witness currently in custody on another case, though he may allow it in the future.
Judge Ralph Beistline ruled today (Friday) that 38-year-old Jason Barnum didn’t have a sufficient connection to the case to testify in the trial of 62-year-old James Wells now underway in Anchorage.
Barnum acknowledged being in Kodiak at the time but says he didn’t know the slain men.
In a separate case, Barnum is charged with attempting to kill an Anchorage police officer at a hotel in September 2012.
Barnum is heavily tattooed, including on his eyeball, and federal prosecutor Karen Loeffler says there’s no reason to call him as a witness other than to frighten the jury.
Wells is charged with murder in the deaths of co-workers Richard Belisle and James Hopkins on April. 12, 2012, at the Coast Guard Base Kodiak Communications Station.

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